The past is full of color. Faced with the imaginary of a medieval stone and cold heritage, history tells us that the reality was very different. Churches were decorated with pictorial techniques and motifs that may vary over time, but it will always maintain the same spirit: a building was not concluded until it´s pictorial “finish”.
From the simple 12th-century red paintings to the brighter Renaissance chromatic splendor, Álava boasts a surprising and, above all, largely unknown collection of painted churches.
In this section of Ondare Irekia/Patrimonio abierto, we will gradually incorporate new files, making known the importance that light and colour had in our heritage.
Churches Digitally Opened
Betoño’s council is almost integrated in the urban fabric of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the city to which it belongs. Saint Stephen church maintains its medieval past with the façade and other Modern Ages elements from several modifications.
Located inside the neighbourhood of San Martin, and fully integrated in the urban fabric of Vitoria-Gasteiz, this medieval hermitage is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. Even though it has been into many modifications through history, it still preserves its medieval structure, and an outstanding painting ensemble.
Legarda is a town near Vitoria-Gasteiz located at the foot of the port of Arrato. In addition to its unusual Romanesque tower, the church of Saint Andrew preserves, partially hidden, one of the most important medieval paintings in Álava
Located on a small hill near Argómaniz, the church of Saint Peter of Quilchano, despite its apparent modesty and simplicity, is a great example of how Romanesque churches have adapted over the centuries, reaching surprising solutions.
In the small town of Alaitza you will find one of the most surprising churches in the Basque Country. From the outside what we can see is a simple Romanesque temple with a semicircular apse with two naves and a porch. However, the true wealth is found within, as it contains an extensive and rich program of medieval painting that has become an enigma that is difficult to answer.
The apse of the church of Añua is one of the richest examples of medieval art that we have in the entire Llanada Alavesa. But it is also a temple that was reformed in modern times with contributions of great artistic quality.
The small town of Gardelegi is part of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, and preserves its medieval church of Saint Peter. Indeed, the impressive building houses a set of interesting wall paintings behind the main altarpiece that originally occupied the apse of the church.
On the edge of the Camino de Santiago in Álava while passing through Gazeo is the church of Saint Martin of Tours. Its advocation of Xacobean resonances reminds us of the thousands of pilgrims who have contemplated its walls over the centuries.
Just a kilometre from Alegría-Dulantzi stands the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Ayala, one of the best-preserved Romanesque temples in the Alavese Plains. Find out the details of its corbels and the paintings inside.